By B & L
Myron Mixon’s Pitmaster BBQ
Four months ago Pitmaster Barbeque opened in Old Town Alexandria. The restaurant is a collaboration of Myron Mixon and local restaurateurs Joe Coury and Bill McFadden. Coury is a well-known Alexandria restaurateur with his anchor restaurant, Faccia Luna, in the 800 block of South Washington Street here in Old Town. Mixon came to the mix by route as an American celebrity chef and competitor on the barbeque circuit. He is a four-time barbeque World Champion and appears as a judge on Destination America reality television show BBQ Pitmasters. Due to the number of accolades he has achieved during his BBQ career, he has the nickname of “the winningest man in barbeque.”
Myron started in competitive barbeque in 1996 at a competition in Atlanta Georgia. He won his first place in whole hog and third place in the pork shoulder competition. He originally only took up competitive BBQ in order to promote his family’s BBQ sauce, which his parents Gaye and Jack, had created. His father taught him how to barbeque, and Myron named his BBQ Company after him, calling it Jack’s Old South. Coury’s expertise is not only in restaurant management but he has been a judge on the competitive barbeque circuit for years.
Upon entering the restaurant the first thing that you will notice is that delicious sweet smell of smoking meats. The aroma is not over powering, but just enough to get saliva flowing in your mouth…it is time for barbeque! The front room of booths and some two and four tops appears rather small but a short divider hides the other half of this room as well as the bar. Two other adjoining rooms help provide space for over 190 seats in the restaurant. The bar is comfortable with about 8 bar stools and a few tables for friends to gather. There are flat screen TV’s throughout the front room as well as in each side room, making this a great place for watching your favorite sports team.
The menu is straight forward offering snacks, salads, ribs & chicken, barbeque plates, sandwiches as well as family meals for eating in or taking out. The main courses feature baby back ribs and a smoked ½ chicken while the BBQ plates offer pulled pork, rubbed pulled chicken, Black Angus brisket, pork belly and smoked sausage links. Mixon’s Fixins (sides) are plentiful and from the south…Brunswick stew, his signature peach barbeque baked beans, coleslaw, mac and cheese, collard greens, loaded baked potato salad and seasoned cut French fries. The fixins come in their own cardboard serving vessel and all is laid out on a paper lined jellyroll tray. This is down home comfortable!
We started out with an order of the popular Pimento Cheese Spread served with crisp Ritz Crackers. The spread is a combo of Duke’s Mayo, three cheddars and chopped pimento. We now know why this is so popular – it is pretty darn tasty and is enough for two people! During a previous visit we had the Hog Sauce Chicken Wings. They are worth another try! Next time I think my partner is going to check out their BBQ’s Deviled Eggs.
Moving on to the main course….being a sausage lover, I ordered the 2-meat plate offering of pulled pork and sausage. All of the plates are served with two fixin’s and house pickles – these are made in house and are a delicious take on bread and butter style). My fixin’s choices were coleslaw and the loaded baked potato salad. The pork was tender and juicy and flavored enough so that extra barbeque sauce was not necessary. Smoked for 7 to 8 hours this meat was stand alone good. The sausage was a sizable portion, cooked through but not over cooked. The casing revealed the grill marks and had a little pop to it as I bit in…nice touch. The fixin’s are sizable and very good. The coleslaw was finely chopped and so creamy you could use a spoon. The potato salad was a scoop of “loaded baked potato” –so named because it has bacon, cheese, etc. – the same things you would order on an actual “loaded” baked potato. It was good but only so-so as far as my taste in potato salad goes, but in a support cast for the main attraction, it was a good addition.
My partner made an attempt to take a more heart healthy route and ordered the smoked ½ chicken accompanied by the collard greens and the peach BBQ baked beans. This was a good move. The dry rub on the chicken was just right and it was cooked enough that the outside was crispy while the inside stayed nice and moist. The greens were as they should be, flavored with bacon, onion and butter. I detected a bit of vinegar as well. The addition of peaches to the baked beans is a great flavor and is something we may try next time we make them at home.
The portions are good sized and we were already getting ready to pack up our leftovers when Joe decided that we needed to try a few more things. I couldn’t let him down so I gave them all a whirl. Out came the ribs, some brisket, the mac and cheese (it is baked so had some of the “burned” edges, yum) and one of the rolls that they use for their sandwiches (nice and soft almost like a potato roll). The ribs are the type that remain firm, not the kind that fall off of the bone, and the brisket was mighty tasty as well. All of the meats are seasoned with dry rubs – no sauce slathered on anything. You can choose from one of the three offered at the table and concoct your own. Joe sent us home with a slice of chocolate pecan pie and a side of ice cream so I am saving that for tomorrow.
The bar seems to be taking on a regular customer base and has just about anything you want to drink. There are several craft beer options and good old Bud Light on tap for those of us who don’t go the craft route and there are enough wines on the list to appease the recreational wine drinker. The prices at Pitmaster are very reasonable for this area. Something that caught my eye was The Family Meal. It looks like a great value. For $59 you get ½ smoked chicken, ½ lb of pulled pork, ½ lb of beef brisket, 2 sausage links, ½ rack of baby back ribs. This option is also available for carry out as is the Office Pack that feeds 12-14 for $199.
Since Father’s Day is fast approaching, you may want to put Pitmaster on your list of “have to take Dad to’s”! Everything is available in bulk carry out so if he just wants to stay home in his T-Shirt and Shorts for the day, you can bring the BBQ to him!
220 North Lee Street
Old Town Alexandria